Who would have thought it’d turn out to be such a big deal?
Soldiers everywhere, everything’s messed up. When I first met you, it was so peaceful. Let’s see now... that was eight days ago wasn’t it? Yeah, just eight days. In that time, all this has happened. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.
Just can’t believe it. Dad has completely given up. Well, you have too...
“Daddy, I want that one!”
Dajh was tugging at his hand, and Sazh stopped without even thinking about it. When children demand things from their parents they’ll pull and tug and run around until they get what they want. His son Dajh was only six, but he could pull an adult like Sazh over without trying.
“Hey, why don’t we buy it on the way back?”
Sazh had brought Dahj to Ewleede Canyon. He couldn’t remember when it was, but Dajh had said he wanted to see a fal’Cie.
If you wanted to see a fal’Cie on Cocoon, the only place to go was to Ewleede, to see fal’Cie Kujata. Sazh had searched around, and he had found a free spot on what looked like the perfect tour package. “A Family Vacation: Visit Ewleede and Bowdam”, had been the tour name. The airship and hotel room would be reserved for you, and they’d give you some free time to explore the places yourself. The price for children had a nice discount, and it looked like fun.
That’s why they were now headed from Ewleede Station to the energy plant. The place was filled with tourists, and every corner had a souvenir shop. Sazh had known that Dajh would want to stop somewhere. He’d want some animal shaped balloon, or perhaps brightly colored candy would catch his eye...
“No! Now! Now!”
Dajh pulled on his hand even harder. All children are like this, saying what they want when they want it. Sazh remembered doing it too, and how happy he’d be he’d get what he wanted.
But there was something he hadn’t realized as a child. The adults who gave them what they wanted were even happier to do it.
“Alright, alright. Just this once.” Just saying that made him start to smile.
“So, what is it you want?”
They were in front of a pet shop. This wasn’t just some local shop, but a chain that had shops everywhere.
“I want the yellow one!”
“Let’s see, which one is it?”
There were lots of different cages lined up in front of the shop. Just to show how big the shop was, they didn’t have only your normal dogs and cats, but they also had monsters that had their genes rearranged to be non-threatening.
“The yellow one, which yellow one?” His eyes stopped.
“Not... you don’t mean... that one?”
In one of the huge cages there was a big yellow Pudding, just sitting there. The Pudding was stretching out it’s body, trying to look menacing.
“Hey kid, you mean this yellow one don’t ya?” The shopkeeper smiled at Dajh and flapped his hands.
“Yeah, that one!” Dajh nodded, and made the same motion. It looked like they were imitating a bird.
“All kids mean this when they say ‘the yellow one’.” The shopkeeper said, pointing at a sign that said, “Baby Chocobos in Stock!”
“Oh, just a chocobo.” He had panicked when he’d thought Dajh had meant the Pudding, but he had no problems with a baby chocobo.
“Alright then, we’ll take one of the yellow ones.”
Dajh’s face lit up when he heard the words. Dajh loved chocobos. His favorite picture book was about a chocobo, he even had a chocobo print towel he’d used to shreds.
“Great! Then please come inside the shop.” The shopkeeper tried to take Dajh by the hand.
“No, I’ll wait here!” Dajh said. He was proud that he now could wait on his own when his father had to do something. Now he wanted to wait by himself all the time.
“Alright, but you can’t move from this spot. Got it?”
Dajh nodded, getting a mischievous look on his face. Of course Sazh knew what he was planning, which is why he always told him to not move. Recently Dajh wasn’t satisifed with just waiting by himself, so he’d play a game. He’d wait until Sazh had entered a store, then hide himself in the shadows. When Sazh came looking for him he’d wait, all excited, until he was found.
When he entered the shop, the shopkeeper was just opening up the cage. That’s when one of the chocobos dashed from the cage and flew straight at Sazh.
“Hey, looks like he likes you.” He smiled and closed the cage when he saw the baby chocobo flying around Sazh.
“Does it? Can’t really tell.” His eyes met the baby chocobo’s when he looked up. The chocobo cocked his head. Just when he started thinking it was cute, it’s eyes flashed. The next moment, the chocobo dived at Sazh.
“Ow!” The chocobo had landed right on the top of Sazh’s head.
“Hey, don’t use your claws like that!” The chocobo chirped in answer. Sazh couldn’t tell whether it was saying ‘Okay!’ or ‘Do you think I care?’, but either way it seemed happy.
Once he’d finished paying, he left the shop in a hurry with the chocobo riding on top of his head. He wanted to show Dajh the chocobo as soon as he could.
Or so he’d thought. But Dajh was nowhere to be found. Well, this was how it always was.
“Hey, Dajh? Are you playing hide and seek?” He made as if he were looking around. Of course he was just hiding somewhere in the shadows. Soon he’d hear Dajh laughing from somewhere nearby. Small children don’t hide so they won’t be found, they hide so they’ll get picked up in a big hug.
“Hey, looks like I lost. I can’t find you!” He said, pretending to give up. But still he didn’t hear Dajh laugh.
He looked around. On the other side of the bench, in the cart’s shadow, behind the flower box. But Dajh was no where to be seen. But maybe... the energy plant was just over there.
“You didn’t go in there did you?”
Sazh ran to the entrance of the plant. Children will do the same things over and over and never get tired of them, but then suddenly one day they’ll do something new. Children are good at this. That’s how they grow up. I won’t be letting him wait on his own for awhile, Sazh thought. Dajh probably thought it would be fun to try going somewhere else on his own while he was waiting.
When he was in front of the entrance, he looked back at the plaza once more just in case. There were lots of children his age, but he couldn’t see Dajh. He really must have gone into the plant alone. Sazh started getting worried.
That’s when it happened. The ground trembled as though something huge had fallen. From far away he could hear the sound of air blowing. The children playing in the plaza all started crying and screaming.
“Dajh!” Sazh ran towards the entrance. Something bad just happened. He was certain.
“Dajh where are you?”
An emergancy siren sounded. A loud noise that cut through the screams. Tourists were rushing towards the entrance as fast as they could. Sazh wanted to get on with searching for Dajh, but the wave of people pushed and shoved him. He was unable to move an inch. He pushed through, trying to make way through the people. They yelled at him and complained, but he had no time for that now.
It took awhile, but he finally heard the energy plant staff telling the tourists to calm down and exit in an orderly manner. It had probably took them so long because they had been surprised as well.
He could still hear and feel the ground trembling. White smoke was billowing out, and he couldn’t tell what was happening inside. Was there a fire or an explosion?
“Dajh! Where are you Dajh?” Sazh accidentally breathed in the smoke, but it didn’t make him cough. It wasn’t smoke, but some sort of mist. Just what was happening in there...?
There weren’t many people along the walkway. Probably everyone else had already run. Maybe Dajh had been taken with them? No, that didn’t seem right. He felt as though Dajh was somewhere close by.
“Dajh! It’s dad! Please answer me!” He was right in front of fal’Cie Kujata. He yelled louder. The white mist had become even thicker than it was before, and he could hear a loud sound like air escaping. He continued on, being careful to check everywhere around him.
Then he saw the familiar color of Dajh’s clothes.
Dajh was laid out along one of the resting benches. He ran over and gathered him up in his arms.
“It’s alright, everything is alright. Are you hurt?” He spoke in a calm voice to reassure him, checking his arms and legs.
“Huh? What’s this?”
There was a strange mark he’d never seen on the back of Dajh’s hand. At first he thought it was a sticker, but it was something else. It looked like the body paint some of those kids liked to put on. Even so, how could he have...?
No, there would be time to think about it later. Right now they had to leave, get somewhere safe. He picked up Dajh, to carry him, when he heard the sound of footsteps closing in behind him.
“Hey! Are you alright?”
It was a soldier on the security force. He’d be able to lead them to a safer place.
“My child, he...”
“Is he hurt? Did he hit his head?”
“I don’t know. We got separated, and then...”
It probably said in the emergency procedure manual not to listen to the whole story. They unfolded a stretcher and placed Dajh on it. A female soldier stood close, looking into Dajh’s face.
“You don’t have to be scared, everything will be alright.”
She was probably checking too see whether he was conscious or not while she talked. She walked over to soldiers and nodded.
“Take him to the first-aid room. Please come this way sir.”
We’re saved, Sazh thought, everything will be alright. He nodded, and walked after them.
The first-aid room was crowded with tourists who had hurt themselves while running away, or were otherwise not feeling well. When Dajh was on the stretcher, he had remained quiet, but now that he laid in bed he couldn’t take it anymore. Dajh began moving about, unable to keep still. He looked up at Sazh.
“Shhh.” He said, laying a hand on Dajh’s shoulder. “You’ll have to stay quiet until the doctor can have a look at you.”
“Okay...” Dahj nodded sadly. There was some commotion out in the hallway. Did they just bring in an emergency patient? The door to the first-aid room burst open, and several soldiers marched in. You could tell they weren’t from the security force here, not just by their clothes, but by their cold demeanor.
“We are now in a state of emergency. As of now the plant and the surrounding area of Ewleede are under PSICOM supervision. You will obey any orders given.”
A young woman was standing at the front of the soldiers. She wore her beauty and intelligent like a cloak. But, perhaps it was the glasses, her gaze seemed cold and severe.
“Currently all airship landings at Ewleede Station will be suspended. We will be setting up a tent in the plaza in front of the energy plant for you to use as a waiting area, so we would like everyone who has been seen by a doctor to go there. Anyone who has not been seen and medical staff will go to the first-aid tent. As of now this place is off-limits.”
The first-aid room grew noisy, but only for a moment. Then on the woman’s orders the soldiers separated the people into groups and made them form a line, leading them outside. That was neatly done, Sazh thought, PSICOM has always been good at this sort of thing.
Sazh and Dajh went to the end of the line going to the first-aid tent. But then he felt a hand laying on his shoulder.
“Is this the child who collapsed in front of the fal’Cie?”
It was the woman in the glasses who led the soldiers. She lowered her voice as she spoke to Sazh.
“My name is Jihl Nabaat of PSICOM. I wish to speak with you about your son. Please come with me.”
“About my son?”
She lifted a finger to her lips, indicating him to quiet.
“I know you’d like to speak of it now, but please follow my orders. I will explain in more detail, but here... there are too many people.”
Her words held hidden meaning. Just what was happening? What had happened to Dajh? There were so many questions he wanted to ask, but this was PSICOM. This was someone who held a high position. The only thing Sazh could do was nod.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Who would have thought it’d turn out to be such a big deal?